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|Also Known As:||Annette Joanne Funicello||Died:|
|Born:||October 22, 1942||Cause of Death:|
|Birth Place:||Utica, New York, USA||Profession:||Cast ... actor singer|
Before Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera, there was Annette Funicello, the original Mouseketeer. When she burst out on the scene as the bubbly girl-next-door on "The Mickey Mouse Club" (ABC, 1955-59), America quickly fell in love with Funicello, making her one of the most recognized faces on television at that time. She was such a huge success on the show that by the end of the first season, the actress was receiving about 6,000 fan letters a week, a feat that astounded even Walt Disney himself. She re-emerged in the 1960s as a teen icon, starring in several "beach party" movies like "Beach Blanket Bingo" (1965) opposite fellow idol Frankie Avalon, and would later inspire longtime fans with her courageous battle against the debilitating disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), which led to her death in April 2013. However, it was her warm, all-American persona as a Mouseketeer - her name famously embossed across her Disney sweater - that would be the Annette Funicello fans remembered best.
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